Pastel de Tres Leches

Pastel de Tres Leches is a traditional Nicaraguan celebration cake. In anticipation of a big win for a certain Barack Obama tonight, I whipped one up this afternoon.

Sponge Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk

Rum Milk Syrup

  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 1 can heavy cream (use empty can from condensed milk – 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum (Meyers or Captain Morgan will do), optional

For Sponge Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour cake pan, and line with parchment paper.

Sift flour with baking powder and cinnamon.

Using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy, then slowly add sugar to tighten whites to semi stiff peaks. Add yolks one at a time.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk.

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched and edges pull slightly away from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

For Rum Milk Syrup:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Whip thoroughly with a wire whisk and reserve. (If made in advance, refrigerate and stir before using.

To Assemble:

Unmold cake while slightly warm, and slice off the hard top with a serrated knife. Place cake on serving platter and spoon rum syrup over cake a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, repeat until all the syrup is used.

Yield: Makes one 10″ x 3″ cake.

Adapted from Epicurious, 2002

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2 Responses to “Pastel de Tres Leches”


  • Is your sponge cake airy, fluffy, and spongy? Most recipes I find here in the states make dense cakes…as not spongy as the cakes I’ve had in vietnam. Do you have the Vietnamese sponge cake recipe?

  • James – the Tres Leches cake is really spongy and wonderful. I unfortunately do not have an recipes for Vietnamese sponge cake. Good luck with your search!

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